According to the calendar, March 21 was the first day of spring…
Last week’s high temperatures seemed like a harbinger of spring but this week we’re in for another wintry blast. At this time of the year we would normally expect to see more signs of melting but this winter was one of the worst on record and much of the ground remains frozen. Maybe, just maybe, with the milder days and upcoming warmer nights that are forecast to follow later in the week, we’ll finally experience some earnest spring.
Whether you’re an avid gardener or just a casual one, your plant yearnings and garden fantasies may be the only things keeping your garden love alive. Although the temperature may be bearable for those beginning spring chores, the ground is still either covered with snow, or way too muddy upon which to tromp.
Beautiful hellebores are hidden in swathes of knee deep snow and can’t be reached to see if their delicate nodding buds are beginning to emerge. The fantail willow is at that perfect stage for pruning. It would be truly lovely to have some of those fabulously twisty, eerily strange twigs with their flattened ends and delicate buds, grace a large cobalt blue vase. However, like the hellebores, it remains unapproachable with ice and mud guarding the path.
In the meantime you may have (as I do) an email box full of notices from nurseries and seed companies with luscious images of the plants that are MUST HAVES for this year’s garden. This truly is torture!
While waiting for the chance to get outside and DO something in the garden, there are some exciting upcoming gardening events to take our minds off of what we can’t do.
Here are just a few of the local events being offered in the weeks to come:
At the Carey Institute; Forest Soils and the Secrets of Spring
Sunday, March 30, 2014 — 1:00pm
Join the Cary Institute’s Peter Groffman for a guided hike through the Cary forest. Groffman will talk about the earliest signs of spring as life underground awakens and is transformed — from ephemeral plants to the impacts of exotic earthworms. The walk begins at the main campus parking lot. Wear hiking boots or shoes and bring drinking water.
Location | Cary East (Gifford) Parking Lot
2917 Sharon Turnpike (Route 44), Millbrook, NY
For more information and more interesting events being offered go to www.caryinstitute.org/
For those of you who are interested in reflecting on the more historical and philosophical aspects of The Garden:
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | 7:00 p.m. | Olin, Room 102
The Dean of Bard College presents
Noble Savages and English Gardeners: KULTURKRITIK from Rousseau to Goethe Presented by Franz Kempf
One of the grand designs of the Enlightenment is the transition from the French Garden to the English Garden. With its inherent “culture-nature” juxtaposition, the transition is closely linked to Kulturkritik. Redefining the binary opposition as a “both … and” relationship, Kulturkritik has emerged in recent scholarship as the discursive and self-critical mode of reflection of the Enlightenment. As such, it provides the theoretical framework for my exploration of the English Garden as a utopia and dystopia. Since the English Garden – and its philosophical, political, anthropological, and aesthetic derivatives – figures prominently in Rousseau, Schiller, and Goethe, my argument draws on their works, chief among them the two Discourses, the Reveries, the New Eloise, the Elective Affinities, Faust’s monologues and the last scene of the second part of Faust. There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the Olin Atrium prior to the event. For more information: contact Julie Cerulli at 845 – 758-7490, or e-mail email@example.com.
Ulster County Cornell Coöperative, Garden Day:
Edibles & Ornamentals | Saturday, April 12
SUNY Ulster, Stone Ridge 8:30 a.m.‑4:15 p.m.
This one-day gardening extravaganza is a community educational program presented by the Cornell Coöperative Extension of Ulster County Master Gardener Program.
Registration is in the Vanderlyn Hall Cafeteria Entrance — watch for signs! Hot beverages and breakfast items will be available at our Bake Sale. Bring your soil samples & drop them off at the Soil Testing Table. There will be free informative handouts, gardening catalogs and magazines to take home. Everyone will gather in the Student Lounge at 9:00 am to begin
The marketplace, with many local garden vendors, will be open during the lunch break. Please note, most vendors aren’t able to accept credit cards at Garden Day (cash or checks OK). Master Gardener volunteers will also be on hand to answer gardening questions, perform free soil tests & plant diagnosis.
Pre-registration is $35.00 per person if received on or before April 4, 2014. This entitles each participant to select up to 4 separate classes throughout the day. Registration at the door will be $40.00
Keynote speaker Fredda Merzon: Garden of Unearthly Delights
Fredda is an amateur gardener turned metal sculptor who learned to weld six years ago. She brings a unique perspective to art in the garden by creating sculptures, which mimic the work of Mother Nature — using found metal objects. She has exhibited her work in 11 shows in New York and Maine. Fredda grows her live and imagined garden in Troy, New York.
Here’s just a sample of the classes being offered:
Daylillies, The Ideal Perennial
An Introduction To Growing your own Mushrooms
Managing Pests Organically
Aromatic, Flavorful Hops
Weeds– An Ongoing Struggle
To download a registration form and for a more complete list of classes go to cceulster.org or ulstermg.org and if you have questions, please call 340‑3990.
SUNY Ulster is located on Cottekill Rd., just off Route 209 in Stone Ridge.
Hudson Valley Garden Fair
Hudson Valley Garden Association presents their second annual fundraising event, Hudson Valley Garden Fair, on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 from 10 am-4 pm at Montgomery Place, Red Hook, NY.
What better way to welcome Spring than with a day of plant shopping, garden education and inspiration in a historic estate setting? Gardeners of all levels and interests will be amazed at just how many garden businesses and organizations call the Hudson Valley home.
– Local & Specialty Garden Vendors
– Lecture: Heaven is a Garden
– FREE Garden Demonstrations
– Local Gardening Organizations
– Historic Garden & Landscape Tour
The Beatrix Farrand Garden Association in Hyde Park
We’ve had a long, long winter. Now that it’s technically spring, it’s hard to patiently wait for the snow to melt and the ground to become workable soil instead of just plain mud. For now, many of the first “joy of spring” chores will just have to wait. I can still dream.
by Donatella de Rosa